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Friedman’s is one of the most successful family-run businesses in New York. Previously covered in an earlier post by your intrepid reporters at What Now New York, the Friedman’s brand has been steadily increasing its profile over the past few years and now it appears that the founders will be using the Friedman’s name to debut an entirely new concept.
Mercado By Friedman’s is a brand new restaurant concept from Friedman’s owners Jonah and Alan Phillips. Moving into a vacant space at 483 10th Avenue, Mercado is described as an upscale-yet-affordable Italian restaurant that will serve classic Italian dishes in the signature Friedman’s style. And of course, all the food will be gluten-free.
While it may sound anathema to diehard pasta enthusiasts, Friedman’s has been leading the charge of introducing gluten-free recipes to traditional cuisines for years. Named after economist Milton Friedman’s famed assertion that “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” Friedman’s founders set out to prove that while there may be no such thing as a free lunch, there are many ways to have a clean, guilt and gluten-free lunch. When one of Friedman’s founders Vanessa Phillips was diagnosed with celiac disease, she realized how critical it was for New York restaurants to provide high-quality and healthy gluten-free options no matter the style of cuisine.
Offering optional gluten-free breaded chicken and gluten-free brown rice spaghetti, Mercado will offer a bevy of traditional Italian appetizers, pizzas, and pasta dishes. Employing a diverse selection of gluten alternatives, pasta options will feature delicious new alternatives like homemade egg fettuccine and squid ink spaghetti. Mercado will also serve entree dishes like baked chicken, veal, and salmon, in addition to a wide selection of homemade ravioli dishes.
While many consider gluten an integral ingredient of the Italian experience, as a person with gluten sensitivity myself, I can express my own excitement to see these traditionally inaccessible dishes brought to a wide new audience. And frankly, egg fettuccine with homemade tomato sauce sounds a lot better than the traditional dishes that stick to your gut for hours. While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, there is now absolutely a delicious gluten-free Italian dinner, something many once believed they would never see.